Tonight we spent hob-nobbing...no, really. For our Valentine's celebration (later date was worth it) we bought tickets to the Les Dames d'Escoffier Dallas Chapter 2010 Raiser Grazer, Silent Auction and Cork Pull.   "Women Stars of Wine and Food". 

It was amazing...great wine, awesome food and I'm sure that somewhere in the several hundred people attending, there were people that the Dallas social scale considers important.  All we know is we got to eat food by some of the city's best female chefs - our favorite, Sharon Hage of York Street among them.  Sharon was distributing some of the best crab salad on the planet.  Another favorite was a squash and corn casserole from the Texas Chefs Association.  And in the cork pull, we scored a bottle of chardonney from Cakebread Cellars and a cookbook (Mangiamo: The Sebastiani Family Cookbook by Sylvia Sebastiani).

It was a great time!

This week I did finish the pieces of the self-portrait I began in the Sue Benner workshop; now I just need to decide how to put them together!
and yes, all of the fabric is from my skull-stash!
I think it's going to be cool.


Roxie says....

It's cold enough for a sweater!
because it's snowing again!  Craziest winter in Texas ever.
(BTW....she wore that sweater for about 60 seconds...)


Lovin' my Kindle...

 I know I'm slightly slower than most folks to jump onto the newest technology bandwagon, but for a life-long bibliophile (and we are talking having owned and currently still have 1000s of books), I would have bet solid money that this new-fangled contraption called a Kindle (TM:Amazon-pictures from internet) would never have attracted me...but dang it!  I'm absolutely in love with it! 
Dave has the larger one because a lot of his reference books are pdfs with pictures, but I have this one - the size of a paperback.  And, trust me, I already have several hundred books on it.   SEVERAL HUNDRED!!  Complete collections - Austen, Dickens, Tolstoy, Dostoyevsky, Bronte, Twain, Alcott, Shakespeare, AC Doyle, Orczy, Baum, Carroll, Chekhov, Wharton, Eliot, Forster, James, Wilde and more.  With very little monetary investment in the books themselves, I already have a classical library at my fingertips as well as some of this decade's fiction and religious basics.

And don't think I won't read (or in most cases, reread) my way through them all...the recent weather and trip to Houston allowed me to get through 99% of Ms. Austen's works (I should finish the last book on the way home from work tonight...).  Without having to rebuy books I love and finding a shelf for them, I can read them any time I want (and they are backed up to my PC so I don't have to go back out to Amazon to re-download them) and I can read the works of one author all in a row - my favorite thing.

Now - I still have plenty of books - no fear there - and I will read them all eventually and pass them on as I finish them - the ones on the "to be read" shelf are not yet available for the Kindle (biographies mostly) - but at my stage of life, the last thing I really want is more stuff that just sits around and I love the public library, but until I retire, it's not really convenient to stop by and then take books back.

Ah...there's the word I was really looking for:  convenience. 

The Kindle is all about convenience.

And I'm all for convenient. 
Any way ...take my word for it.  The Kindle rocks!


Super Troupers no more....

Used to be, these types of things were adventures and we took it all in stride.  Well, we may still be troupers, but now appear to lean toward the whiney side.  Came home from Houston to find one of the trees had uprooted itself from the weight of the snow and placed itself directly across the driveway and we still had no power - can't really repeat our conversation at that point seeing as how I try to keep this blog family-friendly.  Couldn't get a picture of said tree then because it was too dark...we had to park in the street while Dave cut away enough of it to get the van into the garage...the streets were melted enough to go rescue the car, so when we went to bed last night (again - under the sleeping bag and every blanket in the house and our Kindles and their little lights) at least both vehicles were in the garage.  And while snuggling under the blankets is always sweet, we had so much stuff on the bed, we really could hardly move...thank goodness the dog was still at doggy camp.  And we were not in the best of moods.  The last thing Dave wanted to do after driving five hours was hand-saw a tree in the dark.

After not sleeping well, we did have hot oatmeal for breakfast and I was able to fix a pot of coffee so that did put us in a better mood for the morning.  And Dave once again tackled the tree as best he could without his electric-powered chainsaw...
-I helped move limbs off to the side and he got it cut back enough that getting back out in the van wasn't so hazardous...and we went to Wal-Mart and bought another sleeping bag - that way with the two sleeping bags, we won't need all of the blankets if the power doesn't come back on by tonight...and we are now sitting in Panera with free wi-fi and good food and hot chocolate...so, while not the most romantic Valentine's on record, it is steadily improving (I still say it beats the Timing Belt Anniversary...).  Of course, we haven't done the refrigerator/freezer clean-out yet...that will be some time this afternoon after we pick up the dog...we just threw towels in front of it and left the house.

My point is that time was, we would have had the driveway clear, the tree cut up, refrigerator cleaned out, thought the time under the blankets was totally awesome and probably taken all the clothes to the laundrymat to be sure that was taken care of as well.  Now...our bodies ache, we are sleep-deprived for not-fun reasons, find little humor in the situation and are both slightly short-tempered; almost every dish in the house is dirty and I'm not quite sure how much clean underwear is still in the drawer. 

We love our house.  We would love it more if it had electricity.

Stay tuned.  A good story is bound to come out of this....


Happy Birthday, Mom...and snowy things...

Yesterday (2/11) would have been my Mom's 94th birthday - so Happy Birthday, Mom.
and next - here's our yard yesterday morning when we left for work...
and here it is when we finally got home...
yes, indeed.  It had snowed all day.  And our car is stuck in the block behind our house, even though the neighbor boys did their best to clear the top of the crest so we could get over...
but it was no go and there was a tree across the road and we had to walk around the block (not as easy as you might think even on a sunny day)

and came home to no power...so it was a very cold night even with all of our blankets...and morning brought a yard that looked like this....

It will probably be Sunday before we can recover the car..in the meantime, I leave you with the week's least needed sign, while we enjoy a hotel room with heat and wireless connections...


Great Week!

This week saw the finish of the panel for the Dream Rocket: Peace was my theme - so it's ready to send off!

Quilt Guild was Thursday night, and I got up the nerve to show it off in the "Bring and Brag" portion of the meeting -kind of daunting - an auditorium full of awesome quilters!
The speaker was Judy Perez.  Fascinating. 

And the quilts she also brought to show were fantabulous!

Here's her undersea one that has been widely published:
and the front and back of one that is a different style completely.
and then on Saturday, some of my fiber friends and I were fortunate enough to take one of her workshops - lots of paint and gel and mess and fun!
I think my three pieces will be usable - the point was to make a different kind of fabric with paint and paper on fabric with a collage effect.  I think the smaller piece will be the one I actually use first.

Piece 2 is still in the original collaged state - will have to think about the next layer to go on it...
 and Piece 3 is probably ready to stitch on...


Candies and Truffles

What a great day!  Especially for a Monday!!

Once again, this year (today), I was gifted with a package of chocolate candies and truffles from that famously generous chocolatier, Candy Claus (aka, Dr. Brautigam, one of the investigators here at work).  To quote from the gift package, "all Candy Claus confections are made in his North Texas sweatshop by happily indentured elves."

Also accompanying the box is a description of the candy and at least one Skeltonic verse (e.g. tumbling verse - every line rhymes - used frequently by John Skelton [1460-1529] - the Snoop Dog of his day).

This year the descriptions were semi-historically based (much too much info to include here)...and only one poem but in my box are:
Snows Atop Mt. Dallas
(orange wrapper) - chocolate ganache topped with homemade marshmallow, enrobed in dark chocolate

Chocogasm (purple wrapper) - milk chocolate/vanilla ganache enrobed in milk chocolate

Schokolandenfreude (blue wrapper) - white chocolate with chopped dried cherries and Kirschwasser (cherry-flavored brandy) enrobed in white chocolate

Mint Glasnost (green wrapper) - mint and dark chocolate enrobed in dark chocolate

The Temple of Xocolatl (red wrapper) - homemade cajeta ganache overlaid with strawberry jelly, coated in dark chocolate

Good Morning, America (gold wrapper) - coffee ganache made with dark and gianduja (milk chocolate/hazelnut) chocolates, flavored with Kahlua, enrobed in dark chocolate, garnished with chopped roasted hazelnuts

And, last but not least,  Am I Blue, Too? (silver wrapper) - butter ganache with blueberry preserves and blueberry schnapps, coated in semisweet chocolate and (because it contained blueberry) accompanied by this year's Skeltonic verse:
Once again, I dare to say,
Stop brewing your brew

and do honors that are due,
yea, make a hue‐y ado
to the truffly chew
made from the berry that is blue!
For the storming winds that blew,
as if on chocolatey cue,
whispered a whistling clue
to brewers, the likes of you,
who candies and truffles do eschew:
“The goodies that Claus did accrue
taste better than bluish shampoo,
yea, o brewer of malty stew,
those rumors of ill‐taste are vastly untrue.”
So eat up your due,
don’t stop ‘til you’re through,
then take up your brew‐tools and barley anew.

My response to him this year was also in Skeltonic verse:

Your candies delight in every way.
Control's the goal: only one per day.
But on the gluttony side I stray.
I stop my hand - my soul cries "Nay!"
"More," it begs. I say "Okay".
I know there'll be a price to pay.
I'll be merry and I'll be gay,
But to get around, I'll need a dray.
I'll block the sun; it'll all be gray.
Dogs will bark and dogs will bay,
Mules will kick and donkeys bray.
But on the wagon bed I'll lay,
Like a huge, round bale of hay.
Too fat to move, come what may.
But my soul's hunger you did slay.
And wrappers on the floor will stay.

So the question is...which one do I eat first?